The endeavor seemed, at first, like the punch line of a joke on Silicon Valley: An online start-up was crowdfunding a shipment of single women from New York to San Francisco, so the nerd-kings of tech could finally get dates. “Cross-Country Love: Help Fly NYC Women to SF” was the brainchild of Lauren Kay, the 24-year-old CEO and founder of online-dating start-up the Dating Ring. She launched the service in New York City, then expanded to San Francisco when the company gained entry to prestigious (and notoriously male-dominated) tech incubator Y Combinator. But the New York network had two women for every man, and the San Francisco network three men for every two women. So she filmed a video for the crowdfunding site Crowdtilt in which female New Yorkers and male San Franciscans plead to be brought together. “Would you please pay for me to go meet boys?” a pretty blonde asks the camera.
The backlash was swift. Valleywag called participants “comfort women,” prompting a commenter to correct: “Slight difference. The comfort women of WWII were slaves. These women are just skanks who want to marry a millionaire.”